Justice Project South Africa has noted and welcomes the announcement made by Minister of Transport, Ms Dipuo Peters this morning that no e-tolls prosecutions will proceed “whilst SANRAL’s billing systems are sorted out”. This is a logical step in the right direction and will prevent the creation of the artificial criminals that would have been created by SANRAL if the NPA had proceeded with prosecutions and managed to convict people while the e-tolls review panel does its work.
It is however of major concern that despite the fact that SANRAL has publicly acknowledged that it “has no authority to enforce e-toll laws” SANRAL branded vehicles continue to be present at the roadblocks set up by the Gauteng Department of Community Safety (GDoCS). According to SANRAL “their personnel are civilians who have no authority to stop any vehicle to enforce e-toll laws” and “e-toll vehicles (fitted with highly technical equipment) to identify registered e-toll users from those who are not.”
The SANRAL e-tolls branded vehicles (midi-buses, trucks and trailers) all bear the five pointed star of the GDoCS Gauteng Traffic Police and in the case of midi-buses and trucks, are fitted with blue flashing light bars and, presumably – sirens. This in itself is tantamount to impersonation of a traffic officer (vehicle) and since SANRAL has now publicly admitted that it “has no authority to enforce e-toll laws”, all Gauteng Traffic Police branding, warning lamps and sirens MUST be removed from these vehicles forthwith.
In addition, all of the Ford Everest 4X4 vehicles supplied to GDoCS by SANRAL have Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) equipment linked to eNaTIS installed in them. It is additionally not a legal requirement for any motor vehicle to have an e-tag and therefore there can be no justifiable reason or need for the SANRAL branded motor vehicles and trailers to be present at these roadblocks since all 49 gantries on the GFIP have electronic equipment to detect e-tags. It has long been the contention of JPSA that the presence of e-tolls branded vehicles at these roadblocks are nothing more than an intimidation tactic, but it is now crystal clear that the vehicles themselves are operating illegally and in violation of the National Road Traffic Act and Regulations.
In light of these facts JPSA has sent SANRAL and the Minister of Transport a letter demanding that SANRAL immediately cease operating their unlawful vehicles on public roads and refrains from deploying them to any future roadblocks mounted by the Gauteng Traffic Police.
This letter is available for viewing here (481kb).
National Chairman – Justice Project South Africa (NPC)